Facebook brands post linking Wuhan coronavirus to 5G 'false information'

Facebook says it's working to help limit the spread of misinformation and harmful content about the coronavirus and will focus on providing helpful information to people. (AP)

Facebook has flagged a post claiming 5G is the reason for the coronavirus outbreak as “false” as it works to remove posts that promote fake cures and misinformation about the disease.

The claim suggests that 5G could have caused the outbreak because Wuhan, the Chinese city where the majority of cases have been reported, was one of the cities where 5G was first rolled out.

The main implication of the claim being that 5G can impact immune systems.

The post was flagged by the social network as “false information” because "the information is factually inaccurate".

There is no evidence linking the new coronavirus to 5G, website Full Fact said.

On Friday, Facebook said it is building on existing efforts to tackle dangerous conspiracy theories, such as false suggestions that drinking bleach cures the virus.

The move comes amid increasing concern after the disease which has spread to more than 20 countries including the UK, was declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

This post claiming that 5G could be the reason for the outbreak has been taken down because "the information are factually inaccurate". (Stynes Robert/Facebook)

Leading global health organisations and local health authorities like WHO are guiding Facebook on which content needs to be flagged.

The company said in a blog post that it would remove content about the disease "with false claims or conspiracy theories that have been flagged by leading global health organisations and local health authorities," saying such content would violate its ban on misinformation leading to "physical harm."

Kang-Xing Jin, Facebook’s head of health, said: “We’re focusing on claims that are designed to discourage treatment or taking appropriate precautions.

“This includes claims related to false cures or prevention methods – like drinking bleach cures the coronavirus – or claims that create confusion about health resources that are available.”

The disease has spread to 20 countries and was declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Thursday. (AP)

The tech giant also said hashtags on its Instagram platform that peddle false information will be blocked or restricted, and it is “conducting proactive sweeps to find and remove as much of this content as we can”.

In a bid to provide people with trusted sources of information, Facebook will publish relevant and up-to-date details at the top of the News Feed.

Now, when users search for the coronavirus and related terms on Facebook, they may see a pop-up containing useful information.

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Twitter and Google have also announced measures to tackle coronavirus misinformation and promote credible information about the virus, according to reports.

The development comes as two members of the same family tested positive for coronavirus in England.

A plane carrying British nationals from the city of Wuhan in China, arrives at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire yesterday. (PA via AP)

Chinese health officials said on Friday morning that the death toll in the country from the virus had risen to 213, up from 170 a day earlier, with the number of known cases rising from 7,711 to 9,692.

No deaths have occurred outside China, although 82 cases have been confirmed across 18 countries.